A Tool for Organizing and Taking Notes


I want to share  my favorite tool for organizing my life, work and side hustle. Meet: Microsoft One Note.  Last week on Young Adult Money, Cat wrote about How to Streamline Your Side Hustle.  One of Cat’s tips was to utilize tools. It’s a great tip! If you are looking for a way to get organized, then you should definitely consider trying OneNote.

What is OneNote? 

OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Most of us are familiar with Word, PowerPoint and Excel.. but for whatever reason, Microsoft doesn’t really seem to market this program.  It’s a super versatile note taking program. It’s literally meant to function like a digital notebook. You can create as many notebooks as you need and add as many pages to each notebook as you would like. I’ve been using this program for about a year and it seems like I’m still learning about all of its functionality. If you are familiar with Microsoft programs then learning how to use OneNote should be fairly painless. It has very similar functionality and is formatted like other Microsoft programs.

OneNote Features I Love

1) Auto-Save. You no longer need to worry about remember to hit “save”. Everything is always saved.

2) Notebook pages. Add pages, delete pages, move pages from one notebook to another. OneNote is super flexible.

3) Compatible with Outlook. I use this feature a lot at my day job. See the Outlook section of the ribbon on the far right? With the click of a button I can email notes to someone, add a task to my calendar or include meeting details in my notes. I know this might not sound that exciting but it is super helpful.


 4) Add whatever you want to your notes. You can store basically any type of documents you want in OneNote. You can attach and/or embed emails, PDF’s, pictures, Excel workbooks, tables, etc. You can make your notes as detailed and as resourceful as you want. When I started my current job, I relied on OneNote a lot to take notes for all my new duties. Being able to add links, and emails to my notes made them really easy to follow. Everything I needed was in one place. My boss even asked for a copy of my notes for her own personal reference : )


5) Impress your coworkers (or yourself). Not many people in my office use One Note. I’ve been by a handful of different people about the program I use and if I can show them how to use it. I’ve even been asked to give a presentation/demonstration at our next staff meeting on the program.

6) Search.  Did you take notes and now can’t find them? Use OneNote’s search function one the right hand side. It is super powerful and can even read words on PDF’s.  I’m human and have occasionally been unable to locate notes I need. That search tool solves the problem every time.

Adapting to a new organizing tool takes time

If you are thinking about trying OneNote, I highly recommend it. Especially if you already have the Microsoft Office Suite then you likely already have the program so it’s free for you!! Just give it a little time. It takes time to redesign your note taking and organizing habits. Seriously, it does take some effort and patience. I remember originally thinking I wasn’t crazy about OneNote. Now I can’t imagine working without it.

If you would like to see more on OneNote, here is good tutorial:

Do you use OneNote? What is your favorite tool for staying organized? 


  1. I have seen OneNote, but never used it. I always assumed it was just a crappy little app that no one used.

    I’ll have to install it now and have a proper look – thanks for the heads up.
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  2. I am the master of writing notes on pen and paper. Ha! I am always so behind on using any kind of technology.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…How We’re Going to Jamaica For FREE Next YearMy Profile

    • Hey whatever works for you! This is just another great option that I don’t think a lot of people know about.

  3. Yes, I also use OneNote, my husband told me about how useful this application and when I tried to use it, I can say that it’s truly a big help for me. It helps me to organize things, I also told my friend about this one.

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    • That’s awesome. I mostly use OneNote for work, but I have used it at home for organizing vacation plans and when I organized a party several months ago.

  4. OneNote looks like an awesome program, Liz!!! I don’t do much in the way of digital organization (just use my trusty notebook and pen) but this is a program that might work well for me. Thanks for sharing!
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    • I use pen and paper for a lot of things as well. However there are some occasions where digital notes are really nice. I use OneNote mostly at work. But I am currently keeping a notebook at home for planning a vacation (not many notes in there yet!)

  5. I’m so glad you wrote this post. I’m sold! I’m going to try to start using it pretty early on at my next job. It seems much more logical than having a ton of notebooks and folders full of notes/presentations. It definitely is “the future”, too, as people and workplaces move closer to a paper-less world/office.

    I sometimes have trouble finding files and whatnot so I think throwing all my files/notes into notebooks or even pages by topic could be really beneficial. Plus, like you said, it is something not many people use so it always pays to be an expert on new technology.
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    • Thanks DC! I have trouble finding my notes occasionally too. You will really, really enjoy the search function on OneNote- It is super powerful.

  6. Can’t say I have used it, but then again, i don’t have Microsoft Office on my computer. I use open office. I will have to see if that program has an equivalent. Thanks for the info Liz!
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    • I think there are probably a lot of similar programs out there like Evernote. I haven’t tried any though because I’ve been pretty happy with OneNote

  7. I used OneNote in law school and it was amazing for note-taking. Now, I prefer Evernote for my daily notes. I really like the app features for what I use it for.

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    • I really wish I would have discovered OneNote while I was in school. I’ve heard of Evernote but haven’t tried it yet.

  8. When it comes to stuff like that I’m super lo-fi. I either write stuff down on paper or use my hotmail…yes hotmail calendar. I never did get into gmail. I think the idea of apps like that seem cool in theory. 🙂
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  9. I’m usually a paper and pen person, but I’m going to check it out, especially for work notes!
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  10. I’m a total note and list maker with pen and paper, but I’ve been thinking of keeping a running to-do list on the computer, as well. I’ll have to give this a try, thanks for sharing!
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  11. I have never used OneNote, but it sounds awesome! I am like Holly and old school with actually writing down my notes with pen and paper. I keep telling myself I need to upgrade my system but sometimes introducing a new system just takes more time to incorporate rather than doing it the “old school” way.
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  12. This sounds like a good program. I like the fact that there is a search button. I use Google Docs and love it. But it doesn’t have a search button, unfortunately

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  13. I’ve got to say that my favorite tool for keeping everything organized is Drive. I’ve never even opened OneNote though…going to have to go do that now. I had no idea what it was!
    Josh @ CNAFinance.com recently posted…Sunburn, Curling Irons & Financial JustificationMy Profile

  14. This is pretty cool. I’ve never used OneNote before, I actually never even paid attention to it. I carry a little notebook everywhere I go, but this seems a lot simpler. I also have a word document where I jot stuff down and save it to Google Drive so I can access it from everywhere.

  15. I am always writing things down and making lists, but I do it the old fashioned way 🙂 I don’t have a smartphone, but I always have a little notebook with me! 🙂
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  16. Thanks for sharing this Liz. I’ve never heard of it. I love to keep my notes organized so I’ll have to take a look.
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  17. I am a huge note taker, so I’ll have to look into this. Previously, I would write my notes down, and then type them up again in a Word doc. This was mostly for work training purposes – I find things sink in better if I repeat them. The search function seems to be the biggest bonus to using this.
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  18. Wow, I don’t see too many people that use OneNote out there, but I’m with you, it’s awesome! I tried Evernote and several other online apps but always came back to the easy-to-use OneNote, with its ability to be used on any device and sync to local storage. Great review!

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  19. I’ve heard about OneNote before but never bothered to find what I can use it for, even though I actually have Microsoft Office Suite installed in my computer! It looks like the kind of application that I’d use, but since I’m quite mobile for the moment. I guess for the most part I’ll stick to my mobile phone’s note taking app 😉 Or do you know of they have the mobile version? Thanks for sharing though!
    Suburban Finance recently posted…Financial Roundup – Changes EditionMy Profile

  20. This makes me want to try OneNote, which has never been opened ever.I am with you because it looks appealing and user-friendly.
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